Northern Alberta First Nation requires masks in public after first coronavirus case

Why you may be wearing your face mask incorrectly
WATCH: Why you may be wearing your face mask incorrectly

FORT MCKAY, Alta. — The chief of a northern Alberta¬†First Nation says masks are now mandatory after the community learned of its first COVID-19 case.

Fort McKay First Nation Chief Mel Grandjamb announced the positive test in a video message posted to Facebook on Friday, and he says that protective masks will now be necessary for everyone outside of their homes and yards in the community.

Read more: ‘It has been hectic’: First Nation in Alberta fighting COVID-19 case, annual floods

Trips into and out of the First Nation will be limited to one per day, and travel within the community is strongly discouraged.

Grandjamb asked members to make sure youth stay at home, too.

He also asked people not to blame the person who tested positive, and encouraged the community to stick together.

Story continues below advertisement
42% of Alberta doctors considering leaving the province for work: survey
42% of Alberta doctors considering leaving the province for work: survey

He says contact tracing is being done, and that anyone who gets a call from health authorities should co-operate with them.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

“The minute you’re out in the community, any public buildings, masks are mandatory. We will be monitoring the compliance and we will be talking to the individuals in the event of non-compliance,” Grandjamb said in the announcement.

“It’s proven from a number of studies and things that we read that masks will prevent the spread.”

Read more: Northern Alberta community confirms province’s first known COVID-19 case on a First Nation

Grandjamb said the community has had a plan since March 9 for what to do in the event of a positive test, and is following it.

Story continues below advertisement

He noted the announcement was not about instilling fear, and said essential service personnel will be required to undergo advanced screening.

Commercial drivers entering the community will also be screened.

“We have seen from observations in other communities that as the names of affected individuals are revealed that they can face negativity towards them,” he said.

“Let’s remember we are all family in this community.”